Early Childhood Express February 2021

Smiling young girl with book

“There is always light.

 If only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

The Hill We Climb

2021 Inaugural Poem
Amanda Gorman, Youth Poet Laureate

These are the words Amanda Gorman spoke at our new administration’s swearing in at our country’s Capital on January 20. Though the full poem is a prayer for our nation, I like to think of her words as having a more local impact. It makes me think of you—teachers, families, therapists…all who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and yet have found inspiring ways to reach and teach our young children. You are the light and you have been brave enough to be it. 

If you have been looking for new ideas or just to refresh what you’ve been doing on-line with families, watch Larry Edelman’s video series Preschool During the Pandemic: Early Childhood Education in Extraordinary Times. Larry has developed twelve videos that share the experiences of practitioners and families from across the country, illustrating how the fields of early education and early childhood special education are successfully supporting preschoolers and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a great deal more resources on teaching remotely at ECTA to explore.

Equitably and safely vaccinating Washington educators and school staff is the goal of the new ‘Get Ready’ plan announced by State Schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal and Kaiser Permanente Washington president Susan Mullaney. The plan is designed to be launch ready when personnel become eligible under Washington state’s vaccination protocols, and will focus on supporting a safe return to school for communities across the state and ensures a commitment to fairness, equity, and consistency in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Watch for further announcements.

Also from OSPI there’s a new draft State Early Learning Coordination Plan and, although the comment period has ended, it should be worth our time to review the draft and see where our state is headed in early learning. As we’re looking at community partnerships in this month’s Express, the plan includes partners, including state and community agencies, legislators, advocates, parents, caregivers, early learning and K–12 professionals, tribal communities and others, who must work together to coordinate the many supports and services designed to help children and families thrive.

And one more thing from OSPI, since we’ll be talking a bit about transitions in our article: the new document Successes and Challenges of Early Learning Transitions in Washington. This report summarizes the literature review and stakeholder responses from the 2019 federal Preschool Development planning grant. The survey and listening session research summarized in this report hints at gaps, and provides support for leaders to use their points of leverage in testing new universal and focused solutions in the next stages of the Preschool Development Implementation Grant 2020–2022.

Our friends at Teachstone, purveyers of the CLASS materials, are making available some free resources on Virtual and Socially Distanced Settings. These resources were created to support educators in their new teaching environments. Through easy-to-use strategies, question prompts to promote student participation, and space for reflecting and planning, this CLASS Concepts series can help you make the most of your interactions with children. All resources are available in English and Spanish and in three age levels: Infant, toddler, and pre-K–3.

I think I’ve mentioned before my favorite public television station and its weekly Early Learning Newsletter chock-full of activities for preschool to grade five. Access KSPS’s archive of newsletters on their website.

“Every day, we write the future

Together, we sign it

Together, we declare it

We share it

For this truth marches on

Inside each of us.”

-Believer’s Hymn for the Republic

Amanda Gorman

This article was contributed by Mary Perkins for the February 2021 Early Childhood Express.